Gallien Krueger MB200
The tiniest of the bunch is the Gallien-Krueger MB200. This sturdy little beast is housed in a silver metal box with meaty rubber feet. Picking up on the look of the rest of the GK line, the MB200 even sports micro metal handles on the front, a nice touch for carrying it around (even with one finger!) and providing protection for the five knobs and two toggle switches on its face. Each of the knobs has a bright white line on the front and top, making settings easy to check at a glance.

Also picking up on GK traditions, the MB200 incorporates the GK 4-band EQ section. And like their other models, the treble is on the left with the bass on the right. One toggle switch pads the input for especially hot basses and the other selects a preset contour EQ that scoops the mids, while boosting the treble and bass. The left side of the amp’s case has a whisper-quiet variable speed fan. On the back, the DI’s XLR jack has a Pre/Post switch, allowing you to send your signal to the board with or without EQ. There’s 1/4" jack for headphones that doubles as a line out and has a switch that selects the line-level output or engages the headphone-level output. A handy 1/8" jack is also onboard to add an MP3 player for play-along practicing.

Tone-wise, I thought the MB200 was solid and punchy—plenty loud for practicing, rehearsals, and small gigs. The tone was both fat and clear, and the EQ section allowed for ample tonal variations. The Contour switch (similar to the mid cut on their RB series by emulating the sound achieved when turning the variable contour control all the way up) scooped out quite a bit of the midrange, working well for slap playing, but a little murky for all-around sound. In all, the MB200 is a helpful tool when you need good sound while traveling light—and at $249 on the street, it’s very affordable. If you’re looking for a micro with more features and more power, GK also has a pair of somewhat larger (though still meeting the criteria for our roundup) micros to suit your needs—the MB500 and the MB Fusion, which has three preamp tubes and two switchable channels.

Street $249